Millions of pensioners are receiving up to £600 to help with soaring energy bills as part of the government’s cost of living package.

If you’re entitled to Winter Fuel Payment, you should have received an extra £300 Pensioner Cost of Living payment over the winter of 2022/23, which should have reached your bank account by 13 January 2023 at the latest. You’ll also receive this payment in the winter of 2023/24, as the government continues the support this year. This is on top of between £100 and £300 towards energy bills from the Winter Fuel Payment. Find out more about financial support for energy costs in our guide Are you eligible for help with heating costs?

Mel Strike, Work and Pensions Secretary, said: “We want to do everything we can to support pensioners who are often the most exposed to higher costs.

“That’s why we’re providing all pensioner households with an additional £300 on top of their Winter Fuel Payments to heat their homes and stay warm this winter.”

According to research by ThinkTank the Resolution Foundation, pensioners spend a greater proportion of their household income on energy bills than younger households. The under-50s spend about 5% of their income on energy bills, rising to 8% for the over-75s, who typically live in less energy-efficient homes.

Do you qualify for the Winter Fuel Payment?

You’ll be eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if you’re born on or before September 25, 1956. You must also have been living in the UK for at least one day between 19-25 September, 2023. For more details on who receives this benefit read our article Winter Fuel Payment: who gets it and when is it paid?

Anyone who qualifies should receive between £100 and £300 to help with heating bills in winter, with the exact amount depending on your age and whether other people in your household also qualify for the benefit. The tax-free benefit isn’t means-tested, so it doesn’t matter how much you have in savings.

How do I receive these benefits?

You should receive the Pensioner Cost of Living payment automatically as a top-up to your Winter Fuel Payment when it’s paid into your account, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The government typically writes to people in November and December telling them when they will receive their Winter Fuel Payment. Most payments are made automatically in November or December.

The payment should appear in your account stating your National Insurance number alongside the letters ‘DWP WFP’ for pensioners in Great Britain. If you live in Ireland, the letters ‘DFC WFP’ should appear.

However, if you haven’t received a payment into your bank account by 13 January 2023, you should contact the Winter Fuel Payment Centre to make a claim.

Some pensioners who qualify for the payment but don’t necessarily receive the State Pension or Winter Fuel Payment, may not receive the money automatically, for example.

The exact amount you receive depends on various factors, such as your date of birth and whether you are a care home resident.

If you receive certain benefits or tax credits you may also be eligible for a Cost of Living payment. People on low incomes and receiving benefits will receive £900 in three instalments from spring as part of the government’s cost of living package. The £900 payment follows a £650 grant for people in receipt of means-tested benefits that was paid in two instalments last year. Read more in our article Cost of living payments: who will get the £900 and when will it be paid?

Find out more about financial support in our article 26 sources of support if you receive benefits or are on a low income.

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Other help towards heating costs

If you are already receiving any other low-income benefits, such as Pension Credit, then you should be eligible to receive the Cold Weather Payment, and you should receive it automatically.

Some people will also receive £150 off their winter electricity bill for 2023/24 under the Warm Home Discount Scheme. The scheme will run again this year, reopening in October. This is a one-off discount on your electricity bill, paid directly to your energy provider on your behalf. You should be eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme if you get the Guarantee Credit element of Pension Credit, or are on a low income and have high energy costs. Find out more about Pension Credit and how to apply for it in our guide Pension Credit explained.

If you’re considering switching your energy provider, it’s worth doing plenty of research so you can be certain you’ve found the best possible deal to suit your needs. Comparison websites such as MoneySuperMarket, Uswitch and Compare the Market enable you to compare the latest energy tariffs, whether you’re looking for a fixed or variable deal.

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